Leaf Pattern

Definition - What does Leaf Pattern mean?

In botany, leaf pattern refers to the pattern or method through which leaves attach themselves to twigs and stems. Botanists normally differentiate between three main leaf patterns: alternate, opposite, and whorled.

While most plants display alternate and opposite patterns, whorled leaves tend to be unusual and can be found on shrubs and trees with shorter internodes.

MaximumYield explains Leaf Pattern

An alternate leaf pattern refers to a single leaf that’s attached at the node. Sweetgum, Smoke bush, Ninebark, Japanese Zelkova, Black Walnut, and Barberry commonly display alternate leaf patterns.

Opposite leaf patterns occur when the leaves join at the node in pairs. Examples include, but are not limited to, Viburnums, Olive trees, Maple trees, Fringe trees, and Ash tree leaves. In some cases, these trees can display a sub-opposite arrangement, where the leaves are neither opposite each other nor alternate.

In the majority of cases, whorled plants form a set of three or more leaves that join together at the node. These include Southern catalpa, Redvein enkianthus, Panicle hydrangea, Mountain laurel, Lemonwood, Japanese clethra, and Blackbaord trees.

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